Suncica Canic is a mathematician, not a medical doctor, but her research could save the lives of heart patients.
She and other mathematics faculty members at the University of Houston are at the forefront of an emerging field that combines math and bioscience to yield new medical breakthroughs.
Researchers from UH, Rice University and the Texas Medical Center work together through the Center for Mathematical Biosciences, which is poised to become the world’s leading center for integrating advanced mathematics with medical research.
The Center builds on collaborative research that is already producing results. A study done by Canic and a cardiologist at the Texas Heart Institute on using mathematical modeling to improve artery stents was published in the most widely read cardiovascular journal.
By developing complex mathematical models evaluating how blood flows in pulsating arteries and how artery stents behave when inserted into the human body, Canic is working to create more biocompatible devices that can keep arteries open.
The Center’s researchers also are studying nano-particles to improve cancer drug delivery. Advanced mathematical simulations are helping scientists design microscopic containers loaded with cancer drugs that will deliver the medicine directly to cancer cells.
Other ongoing research at the center includes medical image analysis and the study of neuronal networks. The work of the Center’s scientists represents the cutting edge of a new mathematics that can solve real-world medical problems.
No other institution combines both the concentration of bioscience mathematicians with the largest medical center in North America.
With 14 bioscience mathematicians on faculty, the UH Department of Mathematics has become a leader in the emerging field of math bioscience. The high-level mathematics they use in medical research cannot be done by biomedical engineers alone and is the unique expertise of mathematicians.
Science news (movie): Math From The Heart: Simulating Stent Design And Coating